Sunday, November 23, 2008

October 16, 2008

Abandoned by employer, very ill Pinay in Jeddah seeks help

10/16/2008 04:45 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - A diabetes-stricken Filipino worker in Jeddah is asking for help from anyone who cares, saying that her employer has disowned her due to ballooning hospital bills.Aida Gutierrez, a sewer in Jeddah, was taken to the Saudi German Hospital on October 2 and was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus and renal failure.

Because of her critical condition, she was confined at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, causing her hospital fees to hit 100,000 Saudi riyals or about P1.3 million as on this week.Unfortunately for her, she is not covered by any health insurance so she has to shoulder her own hospitalization.

Most domestic helpers and other low-paid workers in Saudi Arabia are not accorded health insurance coverage.“Tulungan po nyo kami, napakalaki po nang aming babayaran sa hospital (Please help us, we have so much to pay in the hospital)," Gutierrez said through her younger sister Precy.

It was Precy who shouldered the initial payment of 2,000 Saudi riyals or almost P26,000 just to get her sister into the emergency room. She said she asked her sister’s employer to pay for the hospital bills but was turned down and even demanded that Gutierrez leave the hospital at once.“Totally inabandon nila ang kapatid ko. Ni One Riyal ay hindi sila nagbigay, wala silang pakialam, actually tatlong beses akong nakiusap sa kanila na tulungan kami.

Tapos sinabi nang anak nya na don’t sleep find a way to get more money," said Precy.On the other hand, the patient’s attending doctor did not permit her to leave the hospital in such a condition and even said that a person’s life is more important than money.

Precy said she was very thankful for the doctor’s concern but at the same time is worried that the cost of hospitalization was way beyond her means to pay.“Gusto na naming umuwi, mahirap dito wala kaming kadamay na pamilya, wala kaming pera pambayad, mahirap lang kami (I’m asking help for my sister, we want to go home, it’s hard to live here, we have no family to turn to, we have no money, we’re really poor.)," she said.

Precy said she also asked for help from the labor office (POLO) at the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, but was told by officials there that they cannot do anything about it because there is no law covering her sister’s case.On the other hand, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) head Adam Musa along with a welfare officer and the newly arrived physician known only as Dr. Exmundo immediately went check on the patient’s condition in hospital Musa reportedly told Precy that they will find a way to help her sister.

It was not immediately known if the OWWA officials have delivered on their promise. - With Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

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